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Advent is the first season of the Church year. It lasts for four weeks leading up to Christmas Day on December 25.

Click here to learn more about what the Church Calendar is and how it’s different than a normal calendar.

2023 Christmas Eve Services

December 24, 2023

10am – Lessons & Carols and Communion

5pm – Lessons & Carols (No Communion)

A fellowship time with Cookies and Hot Chocolate will follow both services

Advent Candles

Common Questions about Advent

“Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming or arrival.”

Used by the Church, the word refers to:

  1. The “arrival” of Jesus Christ when he was born on the original Christmas Day
  2. The upcoming “arrival” of Jesus Christ when, as Christians believe, he will return to judge the living and the dead.

 So, the season of Advent is a season of preparation and waiting:

  1. first for Christ’s second coming to judge the living and the dead (2 Pet 3:11-141 John 3:2-3), but also
  2. to celebrate Christ’s first arrival at Christmas.

Just as the Israelites awaited a Messiah to fulfill God’s promises from Genesis 3:15 to Jeremiah 31:31-34 and beyond, so Christians await the return of Jesus the Messiah to make all things new (Revelation 21).

Check out our Advent book, The Liturgical Home: Advent, by Ashley Wallace, for more ideas about how to observe Advent with friends and family!

Perhaps the classic piece of Advent music is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” because it reflects Advent’s emphasis on waiting and expectation.

Christmas music, on the other hand, emphasizes the joyful celebration of Christ’s arrival at the Incarnation. “Joy to the World” comes to mind, but if you read the lyrics to that song closely, you’ll notice that they’re actually about the second coming of Jesus, not his birth.

So, maybe think of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” as a typical Christmas song.

Songs for Advent

Here are some of the better-known songs the anticipate the birth of Christ:

  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus – Charles Wesley
  • Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes – Philip Doddridge
  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence – Gerard Moultrie
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling – Charles Wesley
  • My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout – Rory Cooney
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – ancient hymn
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten – Aurelius Clemens Prudentius
  • Savior of the Nations, Come – Ambrose, 4th century; Martin Luther